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24 Hours In Montenegro With Yumi Nu and Katie Austin

Medieval markets, wine and the cats of Kotor.

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With only 24 hours to spend in Montenegro, Yumi Nu and Katie Austin have a lot of ground to cover. In the old town of Kotor, they meet their tour guide, Bogdan Muratovic, but as the tour begins, Austin notices they are surrounded by cats. “We see cats roaming around literally everywhere” Austin says. “The cats are the symbols of this town because people needed the cats to control the population of rats and mice because they carried the plague. We even have a cats museum in this old town. Also a square of cats. You can go and see.”

With Muratovic leading the way, Nu and Austin find themselves in the square of cats. “They gather around here because here they have a source of water and also many trees. Over there you can see some of the small houses for the cats.” Muratovic says. “Oh my god!” Nu exclaims.

Suddenly, a curious feline takes a peculiar liking to Nu, nuzzling and brushing up against her. The black and white cat hopped onto the SI Swimsuit cover model’s leg and then infiltrated her jacket to climb up on her shoulders. Austin snaps an adorable picture before the pair head to Kotor’s Medieval Market. “That was the cutest photo ever. He was looking right at the camera.” Austin says.

Olives, homemade cheeses and wine fill the tables of the medieval marketplace. (If you are looking for the best place to taste Montenegro’s regional cuisine, this is the place for you.) After Austin tastes one of the merchant's cheeses, she asks,”Oh my god. Did you make it?” The vendor replies in Montenegrin, “No, my Mom.” Showcasing food made from recipes that have been passed down over generations, Kotor’s medieval marketplace is a must-see destination. Before leaving for lunch, the women were treated to homemade wine. “[This is] some of the best wine I've ever had in my entire life,” says Nu. “The cheese and the meat, the flavor of it all – unbelievable.”

Muratovic gives a regional culinary lesson while the group eats lunch at the Hotel Conte Restaurant. “We always like to start our meal with appetizers. For the main dish we like to eat fish. So here we have shrimp, sea bass gazpacho and pasta with seafood.” Austin is amazed by the freshness of the food but Nu seems to longingly miss her cat friend. Wine glasses in hand, Nu and Austin travel by boat to the artificial islet of Our Lady of the Rocks. The islet was created over, as Muratovic explains, “after two fishermen found a painting of the Virgin Mary on a rock they immediately took that as a message from God and decided to build a church here dedicated to Virgin Mary.”

The models sail the Bay of Kotor with the coast of Perast as their backdrop. “The day has been amazing,” Austin says. Adds Nu, “I’m ready to relax.” And what better place to do just that.

Tune in next Thursday for another adventure series or catch up with previous episodes. You can watch Natalie Marinduena play the traditional Mayan sport Potapuk in Belize, or tour Belize with Leyna Bloom and Jasmine Sanders.